Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Enter the Free Press: One Door Closes and Two Years Later, Another One Opens

Here's the lede: I got a job! Starting February 7th I will be bookflacking full time for the Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Here's the background: I started this blog about 21 months ago to chronicle my efforts to publicize myself into a new position. The month that HarperCollins folded the Collins division and my colleagues and I were laid off--February 2009--about 650,000 other people also lost their jobs. The economy was such a basket case, the unemployment rate so high, and competition for jobs so fierce that I knew I had to do something beyond sending out resumes, searching job sites, pressing for "informational" interviews, and all the traditional things you do when looking for a job. So being a publicist, I decided to publicize myself.

I met with some significant success too. I was featured by CNN, Fox News Channel, BusinessWeek, U.S. News & World Report, the New York Post. I started this blog and another, Classics Rock! Books Shelved in Songs, hoping they would help keep me in front of the publishing industry. Those efforts also met with some success, getting me into such industry media as Shelf Awareness, GalleyCat, Publishers Weekly, the New York Times's "Paper Cuts" blog, CNBC's "Bullish on Books" blog, BookSlut, and Publishing Perspectives. I started writing for The Huffington Post, McSweeneys, and other outlets hoping this would be another way to stay visible, and that too has paid off. (A full list of these media hits appears on this page.)

So: Did all this self-promotion ultimately lead to the new job? Hard to say. In the end, it came about the way it often does--through a friend, who alerted me to an opening and connected me to the appropriate party. Still, I have to believe that the publicity I generated played a part, even if it was a subliminal one. No one ever said, "I saw you on CNN and I'd like to hire you." But I like to think that if someone in the industry was looking to fill a position, and my name came up, they would at least say: "Oh, yeah--I've heard of him."

It all goes to a point that I try to make with authors: Publicity isn't always about making the sale. Sometimes it's just about being visible and spreading awareness.

Thanks to those of you who've been following along. This blog long ago strayed from its original mission, and it will continue on an irregular basis, whenever inspiration strikes (or I get a major media hit!).

Here's the announcement from the Free Press, sent out by my new colleague Carisa  Hays, V.P., Director of Publicity:

I am very happy to announce that on February 7th, Laurence Hughes will be joining the Free Press Publicity Department as Associate Director of Publicity, reporting to me.  

Larry has proven himself, over many years in the business, to be one of the leading book publicists in our industry.  He has held senior publicity positions at several major houses, including: HarperBusiness/Collins, NAL, and Dell/Delacorte.  Most recently, Larry has worked as an independent publicity consultant  working with publishers, literary publicity agencies, and authors who have hired him directly.

In addition to his work as a book publicist, Larry blogs for the Huffington Post, and also writes two personal blogs:  Classics Rock! and Book Flack at Large.  He has written articles that have been published in The New York Times, New York Post, Publishers Weekly, The Author, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and the anthologies Mountain Man Dance Moves (Vintage, 2006), The McSweeney’s  Joke Book of Book Jokes (Vintage, 2008), and Book: The Sequel (Public Affairs, 2009).

In addition to working on many of our upcoming titles, Larry will be responsible for  Free Press’s online publicity campaigns, which have become a  significant part of our overall publicity efforts.

Please join me in welcoming Larry to Free Press.


  1. So... do I get to come to work with you?
    <3 Smushy

  2. Congratulations, Larry! Keep blogging...and stay in touch. Best,Toni

  3. Congratulations! I've followed this blog and list it on MY blog, The Obsessive Reader's Cultured Ghetto. I am still blogging and revising my novel. Best of luck to you.

  4. Congrats! At least one person who read the announcement in Publishers Lunch said to herself, "Hey, I know him!" because of this blog.

  5. Toni: Thanks for the good wishes! We'll definitely stay in touch.

    Obsessive: Thank you! I've added your blog to my blog roll. Good luck with the novel!

    Nicole: Thanks to you as well! I appreciate you following my rather haphazard blog.